Friday, February 15, 2008

Regency Bath Part V -

I hope you all had a happy Valentines Day and are not suffering from chocolate withdrawal. Romance writers love chocolate, but I managed to escape eating more than a couple of pieces.

Last day we took a peek at the evirons for February, but now we are back to Bath. Of course, by now you will realize I am cheating. I use the tags on the blog to keep track of my research and my pictures, as well as pass along what I hope is interesting information. I decided to do Bath in depth as I am planning a story set there. So many stories to write, never enough hours in the day.

Assembly Rooms Cont'd
The rest of the Assembly Rooms, the basement, is =devoted to a fashion museum. On the occasion we visited, it was fashion through the ages, rather than a Regency display, but I did manage to take a couple of pictures you might find of interest.



As you can see, this picture was taken through glass. With permission, I might add. But it is an 1815 muslin gown, so typical of our period I just could not resist. While it has long sleeves it is very light and airy and would have been considered a morning gown. The male navy blue wool coat in the back ground is from the 1830's, so a little bit late, but men's fashions did not change much, except for the trousers, which you can see quite clearly. Men were wearing trousers in the Regency era, but by the 1830's they had replaced pantaloons and breeches almost entirely, except for formal wear.

This light green Woven silk pelisse is from 1807. The curator's notes indicates that a pelisse was the first "coat" and that during this period most people mostly still wore shawls. She also noted that cloaks, capes and mantles were also fashionable during this period. I love cloaks. I adore a man in a cloak, in my imagination, the way it swirls around his body, making him look tall and mysterious. Shiver.
What can I say, I am a romance writer!!

Anyway back to Bath!

The last terrible picture I want to show you is of a coin purse from the 18th century, that would also have been common during the Regency.
Now this is clearly a display of handbags down the ages, or purses or pocketbooks as they are called in North America. But the item that I was interested in was the long black thing hanging over the stand at the front with gold tassels. Sorry for the blurriness but conditions were less than ideal. Anyway how this worked was that there was a slit in the middle of the woven black fabric through which one would insert coins. Then, to stop them falling out one pushed the rings at each end together, so it pretty well looked like the coin rolls we use at the bank today.

Personally, it doesn't look terribly convenient, but with the lack of zippers and other fastenings, I am sure it was helpful in keeping one's change together and handy.
This one is 'very fancy', as my oldest daughter would say, and probably used for evening wear. I am sure there were more everyday types, but it is the fancy ones that are more likely to survive. I mean, my beaded evening bags are all wrapped and put away and dragged out for special occasions, my everyday purses are only fit for the dumpster when I am done with them. So you can imagine which ones will end up being around for future generations to look at. And they will think we all walked around clutching little tiny bags covered in glitter and beading with room for a lipstick and a comb.

Except of course we have so many more records of our day to day lives, they won't be fooled at all.

Well, that's it for the assembly rooms. Moving on to the pump room next time, if you can stand it. And I am going to try to scan a map of Georgian Bath for you. Oh, and by the way, my newsletter went out this week, with a story about Prinny. If you haven't signed up and want to do so, then do it in the next day or so and I will send you this last issue as a bonus.

Until next time, happy rambles.